Friday, March 27, 2015

Lemon Brunch Cake

I first posted this recipe about three years ago but I felt it was time to do a redux as this lemony cake would be a perfect addition to an Easter brunch.  Perfect for any occasion -  any time of year, actually!  The reason I say brunch cake is this cake has the dense texture of a 'muffin' - very moist and crumbly.

It also has the most luxurious lemon flavor as it is soaked in fresh lemon juice hot from the oven.  It stays amazingly moist 3-4 days after baking.  My husband keeps asking me when I'm going to make it again. He loves a slice after breakfast.

A shower of powdered sugar and some fresh berries is all it needs, and, perhaps a cup of tea or mimosa. I used my new Bavaria bundt pan from Nordic Ware.  I love their bake ware and that is a completely unsolicited comment! Given a good spritz of baking spray with flour, cakes always come out beautifully.

It's been a busy time here with more to come! We celebrated the 3rd birthday of our youngest grandson two weeks ago followed by my birthday this past week.  Next week, it will be my hubby's birthday, then Easter, followed by our oldest daughter's birthday a little over a week later.  Fun times!

My sweetheart took me to my favorite French restaurants for my birthday where I enjoy quail for the first time "Cailles Farcies avec Truffe Noire".  I felt like I was in my favorite foodie movie "Babette's Feast" :-)

Soon it will be April and even more reason to celebrate :)

Lemon Brunch Cake

Note:  If you use a bundt pan for this recipe, you will find that the batter only fills up the pan by about 1/2 way or so.  That's okay. This is a smaller (shorter) cake. 

3 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
14 tablespoons (200 gr) unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
1-1/4 cups (250 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (125 gr) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (125 gr) Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Flour - or substitute corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder

Lemon juice from 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup).
4-5 tablespoons powdered sugar

Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or spray with baking spray with flour such as Baker's Joy brand.

In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with lemon zest for about 30 seconds on medium speed. Add sugar, continue beating until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, rice flour and baking powder.

Add the flour mixture and mix until it is incorporated and you have a smooth batter.

Put the cake in a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 325 degrees. Bake for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (this will depend on the size of the pan you use to be sure to do a toothpick check at least 15 minutes earlier). When done, place a cooling rack upside down over the top of the cake pan and carefully flip over using oven mitts. Place the cooling rack over a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar a little at a time so no lumps form and whisk together. Drizzle over the hot cake. Once the cake is cool, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve with fresh berries and enjoy!

This cake keeps well, covered with plastic wrap for at least three days.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Savory Flower Bread

You may have seen various forms of shaped bread "art" with one braided and twisted bread even lovelier than the next.  There is a beautiful sweet version here on Monique's blog La Table de Nana.  She made a  nutella-filled braided brioche bread which is gorgeous.  

Then, I saw a savory version of a twisted bread that looks like a big sunflower on Juliana's blog Color Your Recipes.  She had found it on Passionate ABout Baking but was originally seen on At Down Under. I know that a lot of links but I've been to each one to try and learn how to make this and thought you might appreciate seeing them and the lovely photos too  :)

This bread is a savory version of Hungargian Kalács which is a sweet bread eaten during Easter.  The word Kalács means 'round' or 'wheel'.  

The dough itself is delicious with garlic and Parmesan cheese mixed in.  Then, I filled it with chopped green onions, Greek yogurt, grated Jarlsberg and Parmesan cheeses mixed with spicy horseradish mustard, red pepper flakes, and Penzey's Pizza Seasoning (which is a blend of oregano and other herbs).  I can imagine this bread made with chopped, cured meats and other cheeses and seasonings. You could use any kind of seed or even pine nuts in the center.  Let your imagination and taste buds be your muse!

I used Passionate About Baking's adaptation of the dough recipe which I found easy to make and work with.  Color Your Recipes has a great, detailed tutorial on how to do the shaping of the bread.   

This would make a delicious Easter appetizer/finger food and the flower shape makes it perfect for spring time. Happy Spring and Enjoy!

Savory Braided Flower Bread

Adapted from At Down Under and Passionate About Baking
Printable Recipe

2-1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup-packed (25g) grated Parmesan cheese

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cup (200g) milk, lukewarm
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon (15ml) plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
3 Tablespoons (40 ml) extra virgin olive oil

(The filling is very versatile so use any cheese and seasonings/herbs of your choice, including chopped, cured meat such as pancetta or bacon)

3 Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
8 ounces of shredded cheese or your choice (I used Jarlsberg and Parmesan)
3 small green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons spicy horseradish mustard or Dijon
1 teaspoon Penzey's Pizza seasoning (or a combination of dried oregano, basil and marjoram)
Salt and Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 beaten egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water, for wash
2 tablespoons seeds for decor in center of bread

Place the flour, Parmesan cheese, yeast and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse on high speed to mix. Add the milk, cloves, garlic and yogurt and pulse to blend. Remove dough from food processor and knead on a floured surface to a smooth dough - about 5 minutes.

Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or dish towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes, then knead in the olive oil. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, seal with plastic wrap and allow to double in rise in a warm place.


Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 390F (200C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together the filling ingredients.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. On the lightly floured surface, roll one half into an 12″ circle. Transfer the circle to the baking sheet and roll out the other piece of dough to the same size. Spread the filling ingredients on the baking sheet dough and then cover with the second circle of dough and press down gently, trying as best you can to fit them together evenly.

Place a small glass in the center and press down gently (I used the cover to a small round butter dish). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough around the glass evenly into 4 sections, then cut each section into another 4 sections. You should have 16 sections.

Gently lift each spoke and twist it 3 times. Brush over with milk gently and sprinkle melon seeds over the center. {You can always brush with a beaten egg to get a beautiful glow. I wanted to keep the bread vegetarian}.

Remove the glass in the center and brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Arrange sunflower seeds in the center where the glass was.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.